(HealthDay News) – Doctors don’t always know about the presence of a central venous catheter in their patients, according to research findings published in the Oct. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The findings are based on 990 patients treated at three university-affiliated medical centers. Vineet Chopra, MD, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues surveyed doctors at the end of their morning rounds, to see whether they knew which of their patients had central venous catheters.

More than one-fifth of patients had catheters in place, and most of the time their doctors knew it. But 21% of physicians were unaware.

One possibility, Chopra told HealthDay, is that some doctors just temporarily forgot when they were asked on the spot. But it could also have to do with how hospital care works: “There are a lot of people involved on the care team,” Chopra noted. “This could be related to lack of communication.”

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